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How long after your SAH did you start driving  

97 members have voted

  1. 1. How long after your SAH did you start driving

    • within 2 months
    • within 12 months
    • over a year
    • still not driving

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Hi All Some good news to share on a Friday afternoon. I have heard from the DVLA today and I have been cleared to drive with no restrictions x

Hi   From what I understand one of the critical things is whether you have had surgery e.g. an EVD (as I did), a coiling etc. If you have then it is an automatic licence suspension. If howev

Well done now you can take me shopping  joke xxxx   Glad you have it sorted out Nicola and good luck   Win xxxxx

I honestly haven't felt up to driving until very recently, some 4 months after my SAH. Unfortunately my consultant hasn't responded to DVLA's 2 requests for information on my situation so I can't drive anyway at the mo.

My GP has recommended that I have a couple of goes on an industrial estate near us so that I can judge my confidence etc before going out onto the open road. Just got to find a brave soul to be in the car with me at the time!!:lol:


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In the US, there are no restrictions. I drove after about a month. Just local. On my second day back to work at two months I kind of pulled out in front of a bunch of traffic and that was not good.

Since then I have been fine and am very careful. I feel very lucky to be able to drive when I want as I know some others do not have that luxury.

Good question Carl.


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Still not driving aaarrrggg, waiting for dvla decision, my consultant has written back to them just waiting now it will be a year in a fortnight.It s very frustrating especially as i am back in work 4 days and have to rely on lifts . But must admit will be nervous when i drive for the 1st time !!!

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Oops I think I broke the poll by ticking wrong box. Sorry Carl. I pressed more than a year by mistake!! The dvla had me surrender my license. 6 months revoked automatically if, like me ,you have a EVD placed after your sah. Then four months in i reset the clock back to the start when I had James Shunt installed,doh! So I plan on applying to drive again in the new year all going well.

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I wasn't even told I wasn't supposed to drive.

I think I am going to post another poll with more information.

I drive now every day for work, I seem to be the designated driver at home. I have noticed several things. I tend to drive slower than I used to. I am much more cautious than I used to be. Some days the radio stays off :)


I am totally confident driving in my town with familiar landmarks. I tend to not have quite the same confidence in unfamiliar surroundings.

I do use a GPS when driving to new locations and I look over maps before setting off.

The restrictions in Canada are no where near what they are in the UK.


One of the things we have in Canada for new drivers is a graduated license system. Learners, New drivers and no restrictions. Other than the cash grab, I like the plan. Learners have a magnetic L on the car and New drivers have a magnet N on the car. There are limitations on New drivers. Like the number of passengers they can have and the times they drive. Learners must be accompanied by a licensed driver.


If there were restrictions for SAH survivors I could see something similar to help them get back into the driver pool.


I understand there are safety concerns and that is why there are restrictions but it is also my understanding that many survivors in the UK struggle to get their license back. We really do need to stick together and speak with a unified voice.

"I am getting better and I can drive safely"

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Thank you for posting this Poll for us.

I am still not driving after 3 YEARS:frown:. Tha DVLA insist I should do my assessment in the city centre. Edinburgh or Glasgow are my only two options. Although I do agree these assessmants are neccessary, during the 22 years I held my licence I avoided driving in such places due to the discomfort and nervousness I felt on unfamiliar and overcrowded roads.


I am curious to know how many others out there (with or without the added stresses of SAH) do exactly that. Do the DVLA not understand that Joe Public will not likely do something which causes such distress. How many folks who can't swim would ever jump off a boat?, but it wouldn't stop them paddling in the sea!!!


A Poll of Licence holders who willingly avoid driving in certain conditions would go a long way to help me try to make them see sense and allow assessments to be carried out in the towns with everyday testing centres. Thanks again for your help.

Sally xx

Ps, Daff, I'd apply now. It took them over a year to refuse last time I applied! :roll:

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I have sight difficulties and therefore don't drive out of my comfort zone, as I find it too tiring. Since the SAH, I only drive within the local vicinity, enough to get me to the shops, Docs, Dentist, visit friends or do emergency stuff etc. I'm sure that I could do more, but having a Husband that has driven me since our teenage years, then I prefer to leave it down to him...plus, he's the world's worst back seat driver for criticising and always has been, so I've never been that much encouraged to drive him, unless he wants a few drinks when we go out.


If I'm having a bad day with the dizziness/fatigue/headache, then I don't drive, it's as simple as that.

It's a shame that you're still not driving and not being allowed just to drive in your local vicinity. Keep on at them, as it's not fair that your driving assessment has to take place in a city centre, doesn't sound fair to me.


I'm happy to set up a poll for you, if you PM me with the questions that you want to ask BTG members.

Don't give up! xx

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Due to my severe dizziness I have been unable to get my licence back nearly 9 years down the line. In actual fact I do agree that I would be unsafe to drive.

It is a pain sometimes as I am limited as to where I can go in a reasonable length of time on public transport.


Some places I like to visit are just out of the question, 1/2 hour by car about 4 hrs on public transport so I have to depend on hubby and I hate to ask and put him out as there are numerous jobs at home that I used to do and now can't, so he has to do them.

As he works he only has a limited amount of time to do those jobs in.

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Carl the graduated return to driving sounds perfect to me :biggrin: Especially the bit about restrictions on where you can drive. I think many of us are fit for shorter, familiar journeys but would not cope so well in a busy, unknown area fairly quickly after SAH? But the rules here seem to be black & white(ish) you are either fit to drive or you're not, with nothing in between.


And Sally, I totally agree with you. I would NEVER drive in a city centre before SAH & most definitely wouldn't now. I use the luxury of having my licence back in the same way as Karen does apart from the husband bit :lol: I only drive locally and that's how it has been for the 4 years since SAH (apart from the 16 months they wouldn't let me drive at all!!) Keep fighting Sally, I know you can do it :wink:

Michelle x

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Hi, I was back

behind the wheel after 1 month, plan to go back to work 19th November, 8 weeks after SAH. No-one at the hospital told me anything about not driving and my GP encouraged it after 4 weeks so I have not told DVLA s my job relies on driving. All seems ok but still have headaches and propensity to sleep at any opportunity!

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unfortunantly the drs and gp's have a legal obligtion to notify the dvla of any major head injury which could lead to the impairment of judgement and to the risk of someone having the possiblty of suffering from epilepsy from such an injury and the policy is if you suffer from epilepsy you can reapply for your license after one year from the last episode and providing you havent suffered an episode in the intervening months


you could have to take an extended test to ensure you are safe

anyone who drives after sufering such as an sah or head injury or epilepsy risks being uninsured and subject to legal proceedings not nice


stevebakmand i understand you situation but please check as you say you feel you could fall alseep at any time that is a major risk even though it may not happen the risk is still there its not you it could be another driver at fault and you could react to slowly please think again

i have had the very unpleasent task of treating people and recoverying the aftermath of such incidents sorry


just be safe when you are driving one and all

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Its Interesting that although SAH is often described as a type of stroke you are legally obliged to inform the DVLA if youve had one as its listed as a notifiable illness whereas you do not need to tell them about a TIA and only tell them about ishemic stroke if any of the following apply:


One month after the stroke you are still suffering from weakness of the arms or legs, visual disturbance, or problems with co-ordination, memory or understanding.


You have had a seizure of any kind, other than within the 24 hours after the stroke.


You needed brain surgery as part of the treatment for the stroke.


You have had more than one stroke within the past three months.


Your doctors have said they are concerned about your ability to drive safely.


You hold a current Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) or Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) (Group 2) driving licence.


Anyhow I am resigned to walking for a while yet but have sent off for my pack to reapply after the good advice on this thread to start the process sooner rather than later.


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Daff, that is interesting to know.

As someone said earlier - I was never told to contact DVLA after the SAH. Some man - I think he was the surgeon who operated??? but am not entirely sure, said while I was in HDU that I could not drive for at least 3 months.


I don't know who he was as he does not fit any description I had in my head of the doctors who treated me, I only remember crying at the unfair 'punishment' when I wasn't up to understanding or fighting back. My GP said at 4ish weeks post SAH that there was no reason I could not drive 6 weeks post surgery if I felt well enough to do so....... I now understand that to be completely false....


These discrepancies are completely crazy given the legal implications that Paul99 has described above and thank you Paul for doing so as I know that as a paramedic you have probably seen far more horror than most of us would ever dream of. For me, my licence was revoked 2 years later for a suspected epilepsy issue that was eventually proved to be non existent.


How on earth are patients supposed to follow the driving laws & respect them when even doctors are giving out different, confusing & possibly misleading advice on what the rules are post SAH :crazy: Although, to be fair to them, there was no conflict when it was a possibility that I was having 'seizures' - licence removed & an epic fight to get it back.........


I still feel that a graduated return with limitations applied is the way forward for us to start driving again without expectation of being able to drive in a busy, unfamiliar city centre as a goal post.

Michelle x

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goldfish.girl said:

I still feel that a graduated return with limitations applied is the way forward for us to start driving again without expectation of being able to drive in a busy, unfamiliar city centre as a goal post.


Hear, hear! I was rather shocked to find that after 8 months of being nowhere near the driver's seat I was allowed to jump in and get going. I was very rusty to begin with and stuck to local journeys, Headway mainly which is 5 miles each way down some obscure back roads.


If I wanted to go into town I'd have Andy in the passenger seat, but would be very tired afterwards. A couple of weeks ago, I drove to Daventry and back to visit a friend. It's about 37 miles each way. I managed it just fine, but my speech was 'sticky' for an hour or so when I got there.


I was absolutely delighted to be allowed to drive again, but I do think it's a bit odd that the DVLA are happy for you to jump in and get going after months or even years off. Surely that's as bad as driving while still a bit wonky from the bleed?

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I still feel that a graduated return with limitations applied is the way forward for us to start driving again without expectation of being able to drive in a busy, unfamiliar city centre as a goal post.


What a Perfect situation that would be! Is there someone we can approach to gather information and campaign for this ?


Ps.. I nominate Penny, Michelle, Lynne and Daffodil to be the BTG commitee if there's a fight to make this happen!


pps, my attempt to quote Michelle did not work out to plan.:frown: I will ask the children to show me how to do that.:roll:

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In the US if you have had a seizure you cannot drive for a year. A friend of mine is in this situation right now. But the SAH and surgery was like 3 month physical recovery and surgeon was really judging me. I passed all the little hand to nose type test etc – in fact don’t know if I ever flunked them. Still you can tell how much they are judging you by your body language etc. I read somewhere where they even “grade” you on appearance which makes sense.


I said I was allowed to drive but I am still very, very careful. I have not been to Chicago- it would have to be a perfect DREAM day for me. I cannot even imagine walking in Chicago and looking up at the sky rises let alone driving there. I was once confident in my route to the city to see my dermatologist. I enjoyed the freedom of driving and being independent.


It was like the only time I could really think clearly. I use to drive 8-9 hours to see my son – it is a relatively easy route on a not crazy busy highway. I rarely leave our small town now- I use to go crazy after 2 weeks if I did not go 45 miles north or south to a bigger shopping area. Now it is about every 2 months or more.


I dislike changing lanes that is my biggest worry on the highway. You become so OCD about checking, double checking and triple checking. It took me forever to judge how fast a car was coming so I just never pulled out or turned until it passed. Now I am much better at that. This was helpful driving in a small area only. Very much like learning to drive again & getting confidence back.


Like I said I am VERY careful. I use to do all the driving for the family and husband. He drives for a living. I do about 1/2 now if he is having a bad day and I am having a good day. I was pretty much a control freak about ALWAYS being the driver now I can easily hand my keys to someone on a average day.

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Neurosurgeon left instruction with the nurse for my discharge from hospital. No driving for 4 weeks. Honestly, it should have been longer. I began driving at 6 weeks but only close to home on rural roads. At 2 months was driving in the city to go to work and I made some very scary mistakes. Twice I followed the car in front of me and stopped waiting for the light to turn green. Waiting and waiting only to realize the car in front had parked. Too early to drive, too early back to work and totally exhausted.


I'm 2 years later now and I know that driving in the city takes all my focus so no radio on and no talking passengers. Driving on busy roads uses a lot of my brain's available energy so I try and make it as smooth as possible. I map out my route before I go, I try to pick lighter traffic times, and I know which lot I will park in before I get there. I have parking money ready ahead of time. Water bottle and sunglasses with me at all times.


If there is a detour on my route I'm better at handling it now. That type of thing used to take so much energy for rethinking the route quickly that it would often use up everything I had.

Sandi K.

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I was back driving within 12 months. I did not have to surrender my licence even though I told DVLA of my condition. I didn't want to drive anyway, I was in no condition to do so. I was off work for six months and when I went back initially I went on the train until I got clearance from DVLA to start driving again. I had to provide a letter from my surgeon to say I was fit to do so in his opinion.


Since then, I have learned to be much more patient, I am more careful and I try to drive defensively ie leaving space between myself and the car in front. I also take more time at junctions and I leave in good time to make the journey comfortably. I never rush anywhere now. And do you know what - driving is a much more pleasureable experience altogether.


I changed my perspective too - if by any chance I am late for something, I think that's their problem, not mine, it takes all the pressure off - brilliant!


Enjoy the day - and the driving! Brilliant sunshine here today, if a little cold.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Regardless of my taking a driving assessment and passing with flying colours, my neuro surgeon will not support me in driving :-( It is now 19 months and I am awaiting DVLA's medical team to assess my case which they have warned can take up to two months.


I am very upset and angry, they told me to go home and get on and enjoy life yet they are holding me back as I feel like a prisoner being stuck at home :-(

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